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Unwind – Soulfarm

Desert Rock Records 26-10

It’s Christmas evening. A deadline approaches. Thankfully, there’s a lull
between gatherings of family and friends in order to digest the latest by
New
York’s Soulfarm.
On Unwind the trio achieves that rare treat in music, an ambitious
and
eclectic musical agenda that doesn’t sound as if it’s a set of disparate
parts
thrown together in the hope that it will make sense.
Early on, one runs into what could best be described as the "commercial"
side of the band when its songs generate reference points to other artists.
With the rhythmic style on "Harachaman," the opening track would
understandably
appeal to those who like Rusted Root or Santana. And it still works even if
the vocals are not in English! The title track relives that Rusted Root
moment.
"Pass It to You" makes good use out of an easygoing hook, vocal interplay
and
creamy harmonies in the manner of Barenaked Ladies.
As it turns out, all this is a set up for the rest of the album, which
digs deeper into the soul aspect of Soulfarm. The material pursues the
Jewish
heritage of band members Noah Solomon Chase and C Lanzbom in a thrilling
manner
without words ("Crazy Judy") and in their ancestors’ tongue ("Yehi Shalom").
In regards to the latter song, you don’t need to understand the language in
order to enjoy its meditative quality. Near the end, the songs’
complete the circle, featuring numbers that seem more in line within the
jamband
world yet maintain Soulfarm’s distinctive musical personality and
heart-on-sleeve-driven mentality.

Now, 364 days of the year, I’m possibly an overbearing cynic with brief
moments of unbridled joy and hope for humanity. Now, whether or not you
celebrate the birth of Christ, the 25th of December remains at its core
level (for me,
anyway) a day when the world slows down to a near crawl. The hustle and
bustle remains in the form of visiting family and friends, going from one
location to the
next, but work completely stops, a gift is given, one is received and there
can
be found some of that old-fashioned, clichgood cheer on hand. It doesn’t
hurt that a rain-soaked Tuesday morphed in snow the following two nights. I
mention this because that feeling is what permeates the 17 tracks on
"Unwind."
The music’s basic intentions is to uplift the spirit and it accomplishes
that
by whatever means necessary. It does this using familiar methods from
Western
and world influences. It may not completely transform this 24/7 cynic but it
puts a smile on my face that there’s someone somewhere beaming a bright
lovelight.

And, most importantly, Soulfarm avoids the black hole of becoming a trite
example of positivity. You don’t need a holiday and a few minutes of quiet
time to collect its benefits.

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